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UCLA Big Man Adem Bona Suffers Shoulder Injury, Out vs. Arizona

The Pac-12 Freshman of the Year left Friday’s contest against Oregon and will miss the conference title game as a result.
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The Bruins haven’t lost a game in well over a month, but they suffered a second major loss in the span of one week on Friday night.

Midway through the second half of No. 2 UCLA men’s basketball’s (29-4, 18-2 Pac-12) Pac-12 tournament semifinal matchup with Oregon (19-14, 12-8), freshman big man Adem Bona went down with a left shoulder injury. Bona, who was on the ground in pain, was eventually helped off the court by the Bruins’ training staff and taken to the locker room.

Bona returned to UCLA’s bench in the waning moments of his team’s 75-56 win, but he did not check back into the game.

At the time of his injury, Bona had four points, four rebounds and two blocks in 18 minutes of action. The Bruins went on a big run after Bona left the game, using a 26-10 run to put the Ducks away late.

Saturday night, the Los Angeles Times” Ben Bolch reported that Bona would be out for the Pac-12 title game against No. 8 Arizona (27-6, 14-6). He is, however, expected to return for the NCAA tournament.

Fifth-year senior Kenneth Nwuba – who is averaging 1.0 point and 1.5 rebounds in 11.2 minutes per game – will draw the start in Bona’s place.

Bona’s injury came just six days after guard Jaylen Clark left UCLA’s big win over Arizona on March 4. Cronin ruled Clark out for the entirety of the Pac-12 tournament on Tuesday, and Stadium’s Jeff Goodman reported on Wednesday that Clark would miss the rest of the season with an achilles injury.

Clark and Bona both made the All-Pac-12 Defensive Team on Tuesday, with Clark picking up Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year honors and Bona winning Pac-12 Freshman of the Year. The pair helped make UCLA the top-rated defense in the KenPom, and they combined for 5.2 steals and blocks per game on the season.

Without Clark and Bona – even though the latter is reportedly not far away from his return – the NCAA tournament selection committee may not award UCLA a No. 1 seed, despite every metric and a significant contingent of bracketologists suggesting they are in line for one at the moment.

Bona had appeared in all but one game for the Bruins this year, only missing the season-opener back in early November due to NCAA eligibility reasons. Bona is currently averaging 7.8 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.7 blocks in 23.0 minutes per game.

Since Bona will not be able to extend his games played streak to 33 on Saturday, he will have to watch UCLA take on Arizona from the bench.

The Bruins and Wildcats will tip things off from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas at 7:30 p.m.. The game will be televised on ESPN.

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